Kane County was announced as one of five finalists to compete for a $500,000 prize through the Food to Market Challenge. Kane County submitted a proposal to the Challenge that was conceived during a feasibility study to bring a Food Hub to Kane County, as part of the Growing for Kane program.
This grant competition is sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust and the Kinship Foundation with the goal of developing an innovative solution to address barriers limiting the supply of local and sustainable food in the Chicago region. Kane County is joined in this nomination by New Venture Advisors LLC, Kane County’s consultant and partner in the food hub project. New Venture Advisors is a business consulting team that specializes in the development of sustainable food systems and food businesses. The Kane County food hub project is one of more than 50 food system projects the firm has led across the country.
If launched in Kane County, a Food Hub will encourage more locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat to be produced in Kane County, a goal of the Growing for Kane program approved by the Kane County Board in 2013. A Food Hub aggregates locally grown food from farmers and distributes the product to schools, hospitals, institutions, grocers, and other wholesale buyers.
Kane County Farm Bureau Manager, Steve Arnold, expressed his support and enthusiasm. “The Kane County Farm Bureau has worked side-by-side with Kane County in its Growing for Kane program and its landmark Farmland Protection program. If a food hub is constructed it will encourage local farmers and serve our residents with farm fresh food, this is a win for our residents.”
The public–private partnership between Kane County and New Venture Advisors is in itself innovative in the food system planning arena. The team was selected to present their collaborative work at the American Planning Association National Conference in April 2016.
In October 2016, Kane County and New Venture Advisors will pitch their full proposal before a panel of judges in their attempt to win the $500,000 award. This team is pursuing groundbreaking and practical ideas for bringing healthy, local food to the consumer faster, and looks forward to pitching their concept in October along with an esteemed group of competitors.